Eating foods with baked milk and egg ingredients could actually help kids with allergies to these foods outgrow them. Many kids outgrow food allergies, but not all. If eating these ingredients after being treated with heat can help children develop a tolerance to their allergens, it could be a potential strategy for treating allergies. Milk and egg allergies are among the most common of childhood food allergies, and up to 40 percent will outgrow them. A strategy that involves eating baked goods could help bring that number up even higher and decrease the time it takes to overcome these allergies.
Many Allergic Children Tolerate Baked Ingredients
For children allergic to milk or eggs, reactions can be severe. Some cannot tolerate any amount of an allergen, no matter what form it takes. For others, eggs or milk that have been heated may be tolerable and may produce a milder reaction or no reaction at all. Studies show that between 69 and 83 percent of kids with milk allergies can tolerate baked milk, with similar numbers seen for egg allergies.
The allergens in these foods are proteins, and proteins are altered by heat. This may be why many allergic children can tolerate the ingredients if they have been heated to a certain temperature. Some proteins are changed more than others, which explains why some kids can tolerate baked allergens, while others cannot. Those that react more to the proteins that are less changed by heat are less likely to tolerate baked milk or eggs.
Eating Baked Goods Could Speed Up Tolerance
While studies have shown that many kids can tolerate their allergens better when baked, research may also have found that consciously eating them could speed up the rate at which a child outgrows his allergy. In one study, for instance, infants who frequently ate foods with baked egg were three times more likely than those who did not eat baked eggs to outgrow an egg allergy. In another study, children who regularly ate foods with baked milk were up to 16 times more likely to outgrow their milk allergies.
These findings are important because they could represent a new way to treat some children with food allergies. Simply adding in more baked egg or milk products could bring relief to children struggling with food allergies. It would be much easier and more cost-effective than other therapies, like oral immunotherapy. Being able to eat more products with egg or milk could also help with a child’s overall nutrition. Trying to avoid these allergens, which are in many foods, can be challenging, and having a restricted diet can prevent a child getting all of his necessary nutrients.
Don’t Try This at Home
Of course, if your child has an allergy to milk or eggs, this news is very exciting, but you should never try feeding your child his allergen without first talking to your pediatrician or allergist. While many allergic children tolerate these baked ingredients, some do not. Some children will experience anaphylaxis from baked eggs or milk. If you have been strictly avoiding allergens in your child’s diet, don’t experiment with baked ingredients at home. It’s best to try it in your doctor’s office.
Your doctor or allergist can also come up with a plan for trying this strategy at home once you have found out if your child can tolerate a baked allergen. Eating more baked ingredients may work for your child and may improve his tolerance, but it may not. There is no cure for food allergies, but the research into baked allergens is promising and exciting. It could lead to better treatments and hope for children and their parents.